Saturday, April 07, 2007
Joe Scarborough asks a question....
If I had a litmus test for intellectual honesty, that would be one of them, and he failed it gloriously. No one wanted Terri to die... it was a tragic outcome that would result from doing what Terri had said, repeatedly, to multiple witnesses, she would have wanted. Wanting her wishes to be carried out has nothing to do with wanting her to die.
But even if a person didn't know that the courts had found Terri's wishes would have been to stop treatment, even if a person thought it was a family argument between a husband and his in-laws, no one wanted her to die. They wanted her to live a normal life... but that wasn't going to happen.
Maybe they wanted her husband - her court-appointed guardian - to be free to make decisions about her care. Maybe they thought that they wouldn't want to live in a persistent vegetative state, and figured no one could. It doesn't matter. No one wanted Terri Schiavo to die. But those who were okay with the cessation of treatment accepted that the tragedy of her death might be the best of bad outcomes.
It doesn't take a lot of brainpower to understand the difference between "I don't like this, but it's the way it has to be" and "I want this". So, anyone asking why liberals wanted Terri Schiavo to die is either stupid, or not being intellectually honest, and Joe Scarborough isn't stupid.
So I generally ignore what he has to say; he's willing to peddle hate. But recently, he asked a question that I'd like to answer.
Why is it okay to attack God, and Christians?
He cites The Da Vinchi Code as an example of attacks on Christians, and that really tells us all we need to know.
He's not asking "why is it acceptable and happy making to attack Christians and Christianity?"
He's asking "why isn't it more dangerous to attack Christians and Christianity? Why can people do things that annoy some Christians and make money doing so?" and the answer to that is "because we live in a free country!" But that's not the end of it.
Look, I sometimes feel bad for Christians; the world is changing, and they were caught gobsmacked by the changes. No, we don't live in a country where Christianity is given automatic reverence any more. If Christianity wants to make itself out to be a force for good, it has to earn it.
Is it doing so? What do you hear Christians doing? Bashing gay folks, denouncing the idea that gay folks can love each other enough to deserve to form a family, fighting sex education, trying to fight abortion, and trying to do things that were forbidden by Jesus, who they claim to revere.
Does the average Christian who's holding a press conference resemble the gentle rabbi who healed the sick at every opportunity, who insisted that his followers must help the poor, must love one another as he loved them (meaning enough to die for them, if the need is sufficient), and must feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and visit the sick and imprisoned?
Or do the people who speak the loudest and hog the spotlight look like people who want power and glory and wealth for themselves and other members of their salvation club? Don't those who seek special privileges and unearned reverence for Christianity seem like the kind of people that Jesus preached against?
It's a nasty thing, you know? Jesus told his followers to do good quietly... don't seek the approval of man, because if you do, you'll end up doing good works solely for the approval of man. Otherwise, you'll end up doing them to make yourself look good, and to receive praise and other rewards, not because they're good things to do.
So Christianity might deserve more respect, and more reverence than it receives.
But how do people like Joe Scarborough deal with this? By pushing the good things that Christianity does? Or by attacking those who won't look away from the bad things done in the name of Christianity?
Jesus had two things to say about this.
First, he showed us that love and faith are stronger than anything, stronger even than death. A true Christian should feel no need to go on the attack to protect Christianity.
And second, Jesus told us to look to the fruits of those who spoke in his name. What do they do? What happens because of their actions? Do the hungry get fed, the sick taken care of, etc.? Or do they seek power and glory and wealth?
Right now, the biggest, most powerful bloc of people who claim to speak for Jesus are more concerned with rewards of this earth, without concern for who gets trampled along the way.
How can it bother honest, faithful Christians that these people have drawn the anger of others?